Women Made Jobs Gains in February
After losing jobs in January, women took the majority of the new jobs in February, gaining 99,000 jobs to men’s 76,000. Women have more than made up their losses in the recession, gaining 2.5 million jobs in the recovery, compared to 2.1 million jobs lost, while men have been struggling more, gaining 4.2 million jobs after losing 5.3 million in the downturn. It may be tempting to proclaim a trend here, especially after revisions showed that for a brief period during the credit crisis, women held more than half of all jobs. But that does not mean that women are coming out ahead. “The good news is that women are getting jobs,” said Joan Entmacher, the vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, which crunched the gender numbers in today’s jobs report. ”The bad news is they have very low pay and bad working conditions.”
Since the start of the recovery, Ms. Entmacher said, women’s gains have been disproportionately in low-wage sectors like hospitality and health care. In February, women gained 55,000 jobs in professional and business services, 24,000 in private education and health services, and 14,000 in leisure and hospitality, while men’s largest gains were in professional and business services, wholesale trade and construction.
But the monthly figures are not detailed enough to know whether women were hired as well-paid accountants, managers and nurses or poorly paid temporary office workers, waitresses and home health care aides.
The percentage of women who have been unemployed for longer than six months increased by almost 3 points, to 37.7 percent from 34.8 percent. That could be because a number of women in the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey passed the six-month mark, or because some people who had stopped looking for work, and thus weren’t counted as unemployed, started looking again.
Still, Ms. Entmacher said she was surprised to see an increase because extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed have expired. “With the help for long-term unemployment no longer available, you would expect the long-term unemployed to just give up,” she said. Ms. Entmacher’s organization supports the reinstatement of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Women got the majority of the jobs added in 12 of the last 24 months.